When it comes to Hollywood, many an actor has been tasked with a performance that requires a dramatic slim-down or the kind of bulking you’d likely only ever witness during the lead-up to a bodybuilding competition. It’s these roles that render Hollywood’s biggest stars unrecognisable in the face of their fans. But regardless of the exorbitant pay checks our stars might receive, these transformations require immense patience, dedication and sacrifice. Actors toil in the gym for hours, see their fridges become empty shelves sporting only the cleanest products, as their every waking hour is devoted to the task of getting in movie-ready shape.
One such actor that has made a name for his impressive on-screen transformations is that of Mark Wahlberg. Whether he’s having to slim-down or pack on the pounds, Wahlberg approaches each task with the kind of intensity he brings to his daily workouts. Never one to roll over and take the easy approach, he ensures that he hits his targets and does what it takes to get there. For his recent performance in Father Stu, Wahlberg committed to a 7000-calorie diet in pre-production to gain weight, stuffing his face constantly with a meal consisting of 20-pieces of chicken nuggets, 20-pieces of hot wings from KFC and a six-pack of beer.
As the actor explained to Jimmy Kimmel, for a while it was a welcome change. “Dude, I’ve been on such a regimen for so long, I just want to eat everything in sight. I want to go to bakeries, I want to go to Denny’s, I want to get pancakes. I want to get everything that I could possibly get my hands on.”
But even despite the numerous transformations Wahlberg has undergone to embody a specific character on screen, when production wraps up he always manages to return to that physique he simply exists in daily: one of bulging biceps, washboard abs and inimitable strength. Where other actors seem to only put on the muscle for a role, Wahlberg makes it his lifestyle and frequently shares his workout and fitness tips with followers on the ‘gram. Rest assured, his sessions aren’t for the faint of heart. Here’s how the actor stays in fighting fit shape with a strict diet and workout plan.
What is Mark Wahlberg’s diet plan?
While Wahlberg has previously expressed that his diet routine may vary depending on the demands of the film he’s currently working on, typically he sticks to a reliable and consistent diet regardless of filming schedules.
Key to his diet is protein, with the actor admitting to be a huge fan of turkey burgers, egg whites, and meatballs. After filming the 2018 film, Mile 22, Wahlberg had a specific diet routine laid down in which he stuck to eating schedules and quantity, all the while ensuring he was eating clean thanks to a personal chef on hand.
After waking at 2.30am, the actor would consume a breakfast of steel oats, peanut butter, blueberries and eggs by 3.15am. From 3.40-5.15am, Wahlberg did his first workout of the day, eating a second breakfast consisting of a protein shake and three turkey burgers at 5:30am.
At 7.30am, the actor – who is a self-confessed golf fiend – would head out on the golf course, returning at 9.30am for a cry chamber for recovery. At 10:30am, he consumed his third breakfast of a grilled chicken salad with two hard-boiled eggs, olives, avocado, cucumber, tomato and lettuce. From then until 1pm, he took meetings and calls, before having lunch at 1pm.
At 3:30pm, Wahlberg has another snack of grilled chicken and bok choy, before a second workout at 4pm. At 5:30pm, he has dinner which typically features fish like halibut, cod or sea bass, alongside veggies like sautéed spinach and bok choy. By 8pm, Wahlberg is in bed asleep, recharging to do it all again tomorrow.
What is Mark Wahlberg’s workout plan?
Alongside personal trainer Brian Nguyen, Wahlberg does two workouts a day and remains active throughout the week with additional activities like playing with his kids and taking to the driving range or golf course. With a stake in F45 training, Wahlberg loves to do high-intensity strength training, but he also pays a discerning eye to his recovery and is a big fan of cryotherapy, which involves sitting in a chamber where the temperature gets as low as 150 degrees below zero. According to the actor and devotees of cryotherapy, it helps to reduce inflammation and improve sleep.
As Wahlberg explains, he typically starts his workout routine with “RAMP, which stands for range of motion, activation, and movement prep – things like Spiderman stretch and hip bridges, plus foam rolling. Then we switch between bilateral and unilateral strength moves using mostly heavy bands. TRX, dumbbells, and kettlebells. The lower body work includes balance and agility drills.”
Wahlberg typically works out twice a day and has worked with Nguyen on nearly every film for the past 14 years. Here’s a typical workout of the actor that features some of his favourite exercises below.
Supine band overhead hold – 2 to 3 minutes
Hip bridges with band pull aparts – 1 to 2 minutes
Pushups to mountain climbers – 2 to 3 minutes
VersaClimber – 2 to 3 minutes
Barbell floor press with dead bug – 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
Single-leg band RDL – 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
Farmer’s Walk – 50 to 100 yards
Kettlebell deadlift – 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
Half-kneeling unilateral overhead press – 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
Figure 4 stretch – 2 to 3 minutes
Battle Ropes – 5 rounds of 30 seconds on, 30 off
Sled Push – Until failure